Disaster Unpreparedness

Morgan O'Rourke


August 1, 2012

After 2011, one of the worst natural catastrophe years to ever hit the insurance industry, companies should now be aware of the disaster risk they face and make disaster mitigation one of their top priorities. But surprisingly, according to insurer FM Global’s recent “Business Risk Pulse Check” survey, three-quarters of U.S. workers do not feel that their employer is prepared for a natural disaster. In addition, 72% say they would not feel safe in their workplace after a natural disaster, and 71% are not confident that their employer could recover quickly from such an event.

The problem is more pronounced in small- and medium-sized companies than it is in larger firms, where employees were 14% more confident on average in each category. But the overall findings still demonstrate a glaring disconnect between employee perception and corporate reality. Employees who do not feel safe are unlikely to be productive.

“Business resilience is more than just about getting back on your feet, it’s also about doing the right things to make sure you don’t get knocked down in the first place,” said Jon Hall, executive vice president of FM Global. He added that employee performance — and “ultimately, the health of a business” — can suffer when workers doubt their company’s preparedness.

Morgan O’Rourke is editor in chief of Risk Management and director of publications for the Risk & Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS)